Summer 2015  
  • The ASCRS exhibit area affords ample opportunity for informal, informational contact with knowledgeable industry representatives introducing the latest technologies and products.
  • Introduction of electronic posters has transformed the impact of poster presentations and increased attendee interest.
  • Dr. Chang Woo Kim, Seoul, South Korea, presents his electronic poster.
  • Dr. Steven Schechter, Providence, RI, demonstrates technique in one of the very popular “hands-on” workshops.
  • General sessions were filled to standing room only.

2015 Annual Meeting Sets Attendance Records

The Society’s highly successful Annual Meeting which recently concluded in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center broke all attendance records for physicians and other health care providers with 2,080 registrants. In addition, 782 exhibitors representing 96 companies showcased their products and services in 162 exhibit booths.

The annual meeting program struck a carefully planned balance between anal/rectal and complex surgery. The Society had over 950 abstract submissions, which is a new record.

Informality reigned at the Welcome Reception, a special “jersey night” where attendees wore sports jerseys and enjoyed a variety of traditional and “ball park” foods.

Seven speakers presented special and memorial lectures, including a pioneer in the application of technological advances in surgery, the longtime chair of surgery at the University of Louisville Medical School, a recognized authority in clinical ethics and palliative medicine, and a leading researcher on the epidemiology and prevention of diverticulitis.

This distinguished lineup of special lecturers included:

  • Professor Antonio M. Lacy, MD, PhD, Barcelona, Spain, whose topic was “The Evolution of Minimally Invasive Surgery for Colorectal Cancer: Past, Present, and Future,” presented the Norman D. Nigro, MD, Research Lectureship. He is the Chief of Gastrointestinal Surgery Department at the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona and Professor of Surgery at the School of Medicine, University of Barcelona.

  • Dr. Martin A. Luchtefeld, Grand Rapids, MI, presented a special memorial lectureship honoring ASCRS Past President (2000-2001) Dr. John MacKeigan, who passed away last year. His topic was, “A Short Walk Through the History of the Quality Movement.”

  • Following tradition that goes back more than 100 years, ASCRS President Dr. Terry Hicks, New Orleans, LA, delivered his Presidential Address. His topic was, “The Colorectal Surgeon in 2015: The Missing Pieces.”

  • Dr. Hiram Polk, Jr.One of the giants of surgery, Hiram C. Polk, Jr., MD, Louisville, KY, delivered the Harry E. Bacon, MD, Lectureship on the topic, “Changes in Student and Residency Education in Surgery: Unanticipated Consequences and Challenges.” He is the former Chair of Surgery at the University of Louisville Medical School.

  • Robert L. Fine, MD, FACP, FAAHPM, Dallas, TX, presented the Parviz Kamangar Humanities in Surgery Lectureship on the topic, “Spirituality and Faith in Serious Illness.” He is the Clinical Director of the Office of Clinical Ethics and Palliative Care for Baylor Scott and White Health, the largest not-for-profit health care system in Texas.

  • Dr. Lisa StrateLisa L. Strate, MD, MPH, Seattle, WA, presented the Ernestine Hambrick, MD, Lectureship on the topic “Diverticulitis: What’s New.” She is Associate Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

  • The Masters in Colorectal Surgery Lectureship honoring David Schoetz, Jr., MD, was given by then ASCRS Treasurer, now President-Elect, Dr. Patricia L. Roberts, Burlington, MA, on the topic “The Value of Mentorship.”

Innovations in the 2015 Annual Meeting program started with the Saturday workshops and hands-on sessions. The didactic and lecture portions were complimentary, with fees only to attend the hands-on sessions. Many registrants responded enthusiastically by coming to Boston on Saturday, before the official opening session.

A program of special interest this year was the Question Writing Workshop. Historically, this invitation-only workshop had restricted attendance, but this year it was open for all attendees. A panel of experts explained how to write high-quality questions that can help the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery continue to provide a fair and thorough exam.

The New Technologies Symposium directed by Drs. Sonia Ramamoorthy, La Jolla, CA, and Eric Haas, Houston, TX, featured presentations on the latest advances in colorectal surgery, including many emerging technologies that may not yet be ready for “prime time.” These are the technologies that will impact colon and rectal surgery practices in the future.

Drs. John Eggenberger, Ypsilanti, MI, and Harry Reynolds, Cleveland, OH, directed an exceptional symposium, “Complications: Prevention and Management.” It was part of an emphasis on quality and safety that ran throughout the program. “The increasing complexity of our patient’s medical and surgical issues and the expectation for perfect outcomes makes management ever more daunting,” the course directors said.

Highlights of other programs that served the quality and safety emphasis included symposia on improving outcomes, directed by Dr. Scott Steele, Cleveland, OH; “Quality Initiatives in Clinical Practice,” directed by Drs. Arden Morris, Ann Arbor, MI, and Larissa Temple, New York, NY; “Rectal Cancer: Optimizing Outcomes through Techniques,” directed by Dr. José Guillem, New York, NY; “Ostomies: Location, Creation, and Complications,” directed by Drs. Deborah Nagle, Boston, MA, and Joseph Carmichael, Orange, CA; and an abstract session on outcomes.

The Boston program featured 26 symposia. “The directors of these sessions did an incredible job at faculty selection and creating topics that stimulated lively discussions,” says Annual Meeting Program Chair Dr. David A. Margolin, New Orleans. “Each day ended with unique ‘town hall’ style debates on various topics that have become very popular. All surgical specialties have certain topics/diseases that contain controversy. Understanding the optimal treatment plan for patients often depends on a physician’s ability to see clarity in-between these lines of gray,” he added.

While the principal focus for the program is science and clinical practice, the program also offered some very practical management programs. Dr. James Merlino, Chicago, IL, directed a program, “Health Care Economics in the ACA Era.” It covered some critical elements of the Affordable Care Act that are changing how medicine is practiced, including value-based purchasing, ICD-10, value-based care and the Accountable Care Organization, meaningful use, and the “two midnight” rule. Dr. Bradley Champagne, Cleveland, OH, directed a vital program entitled, “Navigating a Career Path in Colon and Rectal Surgery — Orchestrating and Optimizing Career Transitions at All Levels.”

An exceptional session entitled, “Medical Legal Symposium: How to Protect Yourself,” was directed by Dr. Anthony Senagore, Parma, OH. Its goal was to reduce the risk of medical malpractice claims. Presentations covered professional liability, medical documentation billing, employment and insurance contracting.

Audience response was very strong for the luncheon symposium, “The Genetics of Colorectal Cancer and Cancer Related Syndromes.” Roughly one third of colorectal cancers have some hereditary component, and Dr. Paul Wise, St. Louis, MO, organized a higher level program to deepen understanding of the implications of the outcomes of genetic testing.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the annual Dinner Dance on Wednesday evening let everyone relax, enjoying the company of friends and outstanding music and dancing from one of Boston’s best local bands. It also featured a special comedy routine presented by Dr. Jon Palmintier, Broussard, LA.

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